Sovereignty Hijacked

Part of the FBI press release

Part of the press release from the FBI reads as follows: “On March 3, 2023, four United States citizens crossed Matamoros, Tamaulipas, in a white minivan with North Carolina number plates. Shortly after crossing into Mexico, unidentified gunmen shot at the passengers in the vehicle. The gunmen bundled the four U.S. citizens into another vehicle and fled the scene with them.”*

Reactions to this event came swiftly because the speed with which the Mexican government acted and managed to find the U.S. citizens came as a surprise, particularly when contrasted with the more than 100,000 missing persons in the country and the countless number of unpunished crimes. Delia Quiroa, the activist searching for her brother who has been missing for almost 10 years, wrote on Twitter: “If only our government searched with the same strength and due diligence for our own missing in Mexico.”

In the U.S., in a tense political environment where border security has been a thorny issue on the current administration’s agenda, the incident was used by the Republicans in Congress to claim that President Joe Biden “has not done enough.” Likewise, the Mexican president was also questioned on these issues with probing questions, such as “Why do you protect the cartels” by proposing bold bills that would imply a U.S. military presence in Mexico?

What was the official response from Andrés Manuel López Obrador? In principle, he praised the actions of the Mexican government. “They acted well,” were the words of the president regarding the conclusion of the case, also pointing out that foreign intervention in matters of national security will not be allowed.

“[A] tragic reminder that requires us to reaffirm our governments’ commitment to secure our shared border and strengthen the fight against transnational criminal organizations,” Ambassador Ken Salazar declared, and although the possibility of the U.S. government designating Mexican cartels as terrorists seems distant, what is very close at hand is a crisis in the bilateral relationship a year before elections in both countries, which does not bode well for calming tempers. On the contrary, it exalts nationalism.

In the absence of a clear and forceful strategy in the face of this wave of violence, it seems that the Mexican government is losing twice over. On the one hand, it is incapable of counteracting the power seized by organized crime, putting the security of its citizens at stake. On the other hand, in the bilateral relationship, the figures of more than 70,000 U.S. deaths due to fentanyl consumption and a letter from a criminal group lamenting the facts worry Washington and lay bare the power vacuum it has not been able to take back with authority and clear efforts. As has been no surprise during this administration, the reading of the international scene has left much to be desired, as it seems it is already too late to address a new crisis in the relationship with the U.S. caused by this new poison.

*Editor’s Note: This quote, though accurately translated, could not be independently verified.

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About Stephen Routledge 173 Articles
Stephen is the Head of a Portfolio Management Office (PMO) in a public sector organisation. He has over twenty years experience in project, programme and portfolio management, leading various major organisational change initiatives. He has been invited to share his knowledge, skills and experience at various national events. Stephen has a BA Honours Degree in History & English and a Masters in Human Resource Management (HRM). He has studied a BSc Language Studies Degree (French & Spanish) and is currently completing a Masters in Translation (Spanish to English). He has been translating for more than ten years for various organisations and individuals, with a particular interest in science and technology, poetry and literature, and current affairs.

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